The Faegre Drinker Intellectual Property Team is committed to our clients and contacts during this difficult time. It was impossible to listen to the news of the last week and be unaffected as many ordinary things we take for granted changed so quickly. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, Faegre Drinker has asked our colleagues to work remotely until at least March 31, 2020. Like so many of you, our priority is protecting the health and safety of our colleagues, clients, visitors and their loved ones. We also want to do our part to contain the pandemic.
In a world where social media influencers can wield more power over consumers than network media buys, the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Endorsement Guides felt increasingly like a relic from an earlier era. While not wholly ineffective, the FTC’s formal guidance to businesses on the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising was still a policy with roots in the limited media environment of the 1970s, the decade when the Guides originated. There were no Instagram influencers, no sponsored posts, and no hashtags in 1980, when the Guides were finally enacted, and even cable television was in its infancy. And despite important and well-intentioned 2009 amendments crafted during the early days of social media, so much has happened in the intervening years that the Guides never seemed fully engaged with the radical implications of a marketing environment where blurring the lines between advertising and reality is more often a feature rather than a bug.